The news for testicles (and, oh yes, penises)

From RJP, this bagpipe-ish image — from the ‘Hours of Joanna the Mad’ [a lavish book of hours created for Queen Juana], Bruges 1486-1506: BL [British Library], Add 18852, fol. 299r — which certainly looks like a testicles-penis combo:


Oh, but you say, this is a snail with a human face (ok, playing a bagpipe, but then the images in Joanna’s Book of Hours include many bizarre chimeric creatures, including a snail-man). Well yes, but what about the two shells (where bagpipes have only one bag and snails have only one shell –while guys have two testicles) and what about the hair (neither the bag of bagpipes nor snail shells are hairy, while many men have hairy testicles). But sometimes a thing is a floor wax and a whipped topping — in this case, I’d maintain that the thing in #1 is a snail and a set of bagpipes (both of which are natural genitaliac symbols) and male genitalia as well. The creators of Joanna’s Book of Hours were often playful, and they were (of course) men.

Bagpipes as genitaliac symbols:


Pretty much any reed instrument can be seen as phallic, and bagpipes have a testicular bag as well.

Then there are snails, with a phallic body and a testicular shell:


Compare the geoduck, a huge clam that featured in my 8/5/12 omni-phallic posting “Snakes, worms, fish, clams, slugs”.

Snails are such natural genitaliac synbols that they have been repeatedly been “improved” by folk artists (from prehistoric times on and from all parts of the world) by replacing their bodies with explicit representations of penises. Here’s a Neolithic example from China (Hongshan culture):


And a more recent phallic amulet (provenance unknown) now in the Harvard Museums collection:


Back to #1. The drawing exists in several variants. Here’s a version from a British Museum site:


9/5/13 “A Medieval Menagerie”: Our calendar series for 2012 featured the gorgeous Hours of Joanna the Mad (Add MS 18852), a spectacular Book of Hours that was produced for Joanna of Castile (more frequently, and somewhat unfairly, known as Joanna the Mad) in Bruges between 1496 and 1506. This Book of Hours was clearly customised for Joanna, who appears in several miniatures …; as well as including some unusual texts that were probably chosen by her, the manuscript also contains a stunning programme of illumination.

Yet another version:

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The examples are paired with different texts, so presumably come from different parts of the book. They go along with other representations of animals, some familiar, some odd (a goat-chicken, some sort of a creature with a peacock’s tail and wings, a fish with legs, something that looks like a beaver with wings, a winged siren), including some snail-creatures — for instance, a snail-stag and this snail-man (wielding a phallic club):


Now to Joanna of Castile. From Wikipedia:

Joanna (6 November 1479 – 12 April 1555), known as Joanna the Mad (Spanish: Juana la Loca), was queen of Castile from 1504 and of Aragon from 1516. From the union of these two crowns modern Spain evolved. Joanna married Philip the Handsome on October 20, 1496. Philip was crowned King of Castile in 1506, initiating the rule of the Habsburgs in Spain. After Philip’s death that same year, Joanna was deemed mentally ill [there seems to be no question that she was unbalanced in some way, but there’s no consensus as to what she was afflicted with] and was confined to a nunnery for the rest of her life. Though she remained the legal queen of Castile throughout this time, her father, Ferdinand II of Aragon, was regent until his death, when she inherited his kingdom as well. From 1517, her son, Charles [later to become the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V], ruled as king, while she nominally remained co-monarch.

Joanna was born in the city of Toledo, the capital of the Kingdom of Castile. She was the third child and second daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon of the royal House of Trastámara [that’s the Ferdinand and Isabella of Christopher Columbus fame — and the Isabella who expelled both the Moors and the Jews from Spain]. Joanna had been a clever and diligent child and an excellent student. Queen Isabella came to ensure that Joanna along with her three sisters Isabella, Maria, and Catherine received a fine education . Her academic education consisted of canon and civil law, genealogy and heraldry, grammar, history, languages, mathematics, philosophy, reading, spelling, and writing.

… Joanna [also] developed feminine accomplishments in court etiquette, dancing, drawing, equestrian skills, good manners, music, and the needle arts of embroidery, needlepoint, and sewing. She excelled in all of the Iberian Romance languages: Castilian, Leonese, Galician-Portuguese, and Catalan and had been fluent in French and Latin. Joanna had been given instruction in religious studies and she had learned outdoor pursuits such as hawking and hunting. Praise was given to her for being a skilled dancer and a talented musician in playing the clavichord, the guitar, and the monochord. She was educated and formally trained for a significant marriage that, as a royal family alliance, would extend the kingdoms’ power and security as well as its influence and peaceful relations with other ruling powers. As an infanta she was not expected to be heiress to the throne of either Castile or Aragon, although through deaths she later inherited both.


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